Sheratons

Line-Up:
    Terry Sorenson (Very High Tenor)
    Bruce Sorenson (Tenor)
    Graham Pettit (Baritone)
    John Kearns (Bass)

When the Sheratons formed in 1958, they were actually called the Belltones, but decided to change their name to avoid confusion with the successful Australian group called the Delltones.

This was a pure vocal group who specialised in the doo-wop harmony styles of the Four Seasons and the Coasters. Terry Sorenson had an amazing four and a half octave voice, and there were no other groups of its type in New Zealand at the time. John Kearns left the group in 1959 and he was replaced by Keith Hunt.

They were a very popular group, singing in coffee bars and clubs all over the place. They even won first prize on radio's "Have A Shot" programme. In 1962 Graham Pettit left and he was replaced by Ron Green. They made television appearances on "Teen Scene" and "In The Groove" and this exposure lead to offers of work from all over the country.

In 1963 they signed to John Ewan's Octagon label and released their first single, "Peanuts"/"Keep The Hall Lights Burning". "Peanuts" was a cover of the Four Seasons and did very well, especially in Auckland. They suddenly found themselves very popular with the girls, and at one of their appearances at Wellsford, they were mobbed to such an extent that they received injuries.

During 1963 they released three more singles, "Bony Moronie"/"In Self Defence", "Surf City"/"Hi Lilli Hi Lo" and "Where Are You Going Little Boy"/"Martian Hop". An EP was also released, called "Where Are You Going Little Boy", it contained "Peanuts", "Where Are You Going Little Boy", "Hi Lilli Hi Lo" and "Bo Diddly".

In 1964 came the singles "I'm Going Back To School"/"Lollipops", "Que Sera"/"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "What A Gal"/"You'll Never Walk Alone". A second EP, "Shakin' 'n Stompin' " was also released. It contained "Martian Hop", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", "My Babe" and "Bony Moronie".

1964 also saw the release of their only LP, "Having A Ball".

During 1964 there was a major upheaval in the line-up. Everyone left except Terry, and he continued as a trio by adding Ron Ransfield and Leonard Ropeta. This line-up moved to Australia in 1965 and they became hugely popular in the clubs over there, becoming a very successful cabaret act. They traveled to Asia on many occasions, but never did any more recordings.

The Sheratons performed a reunion concert in Rotorua in 1991 and were planning on doing a tour, but unfortunately Leonard Ropeta died.

 

New Zealand Music